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Brophy tops all-state list in softball

The year before Lani Brophy was old enough to play high school softball, St. Mary's didn't field a softball team.

It would've been a pity had the Crusaders not taken the field the past three springs.

After leading St. Mary's to its first playoff appearance since 1986, Brophy was recently voted to the Class 2A all-state first team.

Although the 5-foot-8 right hander's presence was unmistakable when she toed the pitching rubber, Brophy was named for her performance at first base during her junior season.

Brophy batted .460 with 25 RBIs in 25 games, splitting time between first and the pitching circle. She posted a 15-3 record for the Crusaders, who were knocked out of the playoffs, 1-0, by Santiam Christian.

She earned honorable mention as a freshman, but went unnoticed last year. This spring she sensed things were different.

At the start, I was doing really well, better than in the past, Brophy says. I finally got a lot of control and my change-up started working better.

She credits the improvement to her personal pitching coach, Ken Roudybush of Amity, who has worked with her since she was 11.

When I was younger, we went up there a lot more often, Brophy says. Now that the mechanics are there, I just go up before the season and right before the playoffs.

Brophy is a product of he Tornado ASA fastpitch program, playing from the time she was 12 to 14.

Had St. Mary's not revived its team in 1998, Brophy likely would've tried out for North Medford's team.

But several other softball players entered the ninth grade when Brophy did, giving the Crusaders enough players to field a team.

She pitched every game as a freshman then started sharing duties with Sarah Fetty in 1999.

Brophy says the Southern Cascade League runner-up's narrow first-round playoff loss will inspire the Crusaders next spring.

The team played well and I pitched as well as I could,?? Brophy says. It was a tough loss and gives us a lot of motivation for next year. We only had two seniors -? one was a starter — and we have five players who'll be returning seniors next year.

The only other SCL player recognized was Cascade Christian sophomore infielder Whitney Brooking.

Roseburg was the lone Southern Oregon Conference school to have players on the Class 4A first team, senior infielder Lindsey O'rne and junior outfielder Molly Liston.

Ashland senior infielder Amy Williams, Crater junior infielder Kara Ray and North Medford junior pitcher Steph Coe were second-team selections.

Grants Pass senior catcher Gabby Rathburn and Roseburg junior infielder Erin Goodell made the third team, while Ashland senior infielder Kristen Strait, Crater senior outfielder Rachel Hernandez and Crater senior designated hitter Shauna Steinmetz gained honorable mention.

In the Class 3A ranks, Skyline Conference champion Henley had a second team pick, sophomore outfielder Katie Eck, and a third-team selection, junior catcher Emily Mills.

Rogue River junior catcher Allison Bailey, Henley freshman pitcher Jaime Birt and Henley senior utility player Lois Shoemaker were honorable mention.